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Color Agents

Agents of Controversy

Critics of the use of herbicides were vocal during the Vietnam War and again when questions were raised in this country about the effects of the ominously named Agent Orange. The debate still rages. US forces used 10 different herbicides in Southeast Asia, most of them variants of 2,4-D (D for dichlorophenoyxyacetic acid) or 2,4,5-T (T for trichlorophenoxyacetic acid). Others included sodium salt of cacodylic acid and triisopropanolamine salt of picloram. The names "Pink," "Green," "Purple," "Blue," "Orange," and so on came from the 4-inch-wide band painted on the 55-gallon drums containing the herbicide. The herbicide contained in orange-striped drums came to be called "Agent Orange." A 50­50 solution of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, it was the most widely used of the herbicides and gained the most notoriety. All of the herbicides used in Southeast Asia had been used in commercial agriculture for many years. As an example, in the United States in 1961, about 40 million acres were treated with 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T herbicides. Among the many myths about herbicide spraying was that forest areas were "drenched" with spray that "soaked" clothing of those on the ground. In actual practice, the dispensation of three gallons of herbicide per acre is the equivalent of about .009 of an ounce per square foot. In most instances, only about 6 percent of the sprayed material reached the ground, the rest being absorbed by the jungle foliage. Drenching and soaking did not occur.

Dioxin was present in Agent Orange, but only as a trace amount--.0002 of 1 percent, and this amount was degradable by sunlight within 72 hours. Over the past 18 years, Ranch Hand veterans have participated in a $120 million epidemiological study-the Air Force Health Study, commonly called the Ranch Hand Study. The participants received physical exams in 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992, and 1997. The final physical exams are scheduled for 2002. Although Ranch Hand personnel naturally had the greatest degree and frequency of contact with the herbicides, physical examinations at the Kelsey­Seybold clinic in Houston and the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, Calif., reveal that the mortality rate of the group is the same as a matched comparison group (Air Force veterans who flew in C-130s in Southeast Asia during the Ranch Hand time frame) and significantly lower than the rate for the male population of the United States. The number of birth defects among children of Ranch Hand veterans is the same as the children of the comparison group.The testing of Ranch Hand veterans will conclude in 2006, at which time a report will be prepared

Location Orange White Blue Total Gallons
A Shau 53,550 2,550 6,128 62,228
An Hoa 6,500 1,800 11,250 19,550
Binh Hoa 8,220 0 1,600 9,820
Cam Lo 80,375 8,660 12,785 101,820
Camp Carrol 78,200 5,400 5,050 88,650
Camp Eagle 14,250 0 0 14,250
Camp Esso 53,410 5,600 0 64,510
Camp Evans 18,690 0 880 19,570
Camp Henderson 68,155 7,040 4,800 79,995
Chu Lai 12,170 4,150 1,598 17,918
Con Thien 84,700 12,460 10,925 108,085
Da Nang, China Beach 13,800 0 2,000 15,800
Dong Ha 54,385 5,060 9,935 69,380
Duc Pho, LZ Bronco 46,225 14,400 1,175 61,800
Firebase Jack 140,875 11,900 3,280 156,055
Firebase Rakkassan 150,145 23,900 2,510 176,555
Firebase West 15,405 3,690 18,480 37,575
Hill 63 20,500 3,200 0 23,700
Hill 69 11,620 4,150 1,598 17,368
Hoi An 17,520 3,000 13,950 34,470
Hue 41,395 0 5,070 46,465
Khe Sanh, Firebase Smith 43,705 3,040 4,300 51,045
LangCo Bridge 50,610 5,600 3,500 59,710
LZ Baldy 15,430 3,000 13,950 32,380
LZ Dogpatch, Hill 327 4,490 0 8,250 12,740
LZ Geronimo 22,535 14,000 468 37,003
LZ Jane, Firebase Barbara 91,150 6,750 3,700 101,600
LZ Langley, Firebase Shepard 72,105 7,040 4,800 83,945
LZ Profess, Hill 55 39,300 13,000 17,209 69,509
LZ Rockcrusher, Hill 85 47,800 0 0 47,800
LZ Rockpile 110,050 15,440 7,650 133,140
LZ Ross 15,405 6,720 18,508 40,633
LZ Sandra 118,780 20,210 24,755 163,745
LZ Snapper, Firebase Leather 11,350 0 3,000 14,350
Marble, Hill 59 15,405 6,720 18,508 40,633
Phu Bai 54,300 3,000 120 57,420
Phu Luc, LZ Tommahawk 78,250 4,000 0 82,250
Quang Nai 25,605 0 1,800 27,405
Quang Tri, LZ Nancy 68,000 2,750 3,700 74,450

= Total of 2,355,322 gallons!

Fifteen herbicides were used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1964, including the following:

PURPLE: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5,-T used between 1962 and 1964. GREEN: Contained 2,4,5-T and was used 1962-1964. PINK: Contained 2,4,5-T and was used 1962-1964. ORANGE: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5-T used between 1965 and 1970. WHITE: A formulation of Picloram and 2,4,-D. BLUE: Contained cacodylic acid. ORANGE II: A formualtion of 2,4,-D and 2,4,5-T used in 1968 and 1969 (also sometimes referred to as "Super Orange") DINOXOL: A formulation of 2,4,-D and 2,4,,5-T. Small quantities were tested in Vietnam between 1962 and 1964. TRINOXOL: Contained 2,4,5-T. Small quantities tested in Vietnam 1962-1964. BROMACIL; DIQUAT; TA DEX; MONURON; DIURON; DALAPON

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